In an exchange with my sister (today is her birthday), I pointed out how her niece looks up to her & naturally said, “She thinks you walk on water.” Most people’s minds would go to a sea and a fishing boat, but being the associate certified entomologist nerd that I am, I went immediately to spiders. We know people can walk on water (if it’s frozen solid enough), but what about spiders? Can spiders walk on water?
Spiders and Cold
As humans, we can stroll around on water all day long – in the dead of winter on the way to our ice fishing shack. Spiders on the other hand cannot. Spiders move their legs through a system of hydraulics, unlike our human muscle, bone, and pulley locomotion. When things get too cold, spider hydraulics fail to function and they are forced to go into a dormant state, so strolling about on the ice during the ice season is out for the spider crew.
Spiders and Surfaces
Spiders are highly adaptable creatures that do well on just about any surface. They can twinkle their toes across delicate strings of silk without getting stuck. Most of the time we will see them scurrying up walls that are impossible for us. Most interesting is the fishing spider which can scramble across the water. It is true, the fishing spider has the ability to walk on water.
Spiders Below The Surface
The fishing spider doesn’t just walk on water for kicks and giggles. These spiders have evolved to have the capability to provide themselves with food. They utilize the water as their hunting grounds. By creating air bubbles, they can dive below the surface with their air bubble acting as their own SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus). This means the fishing spider can effectively breathe under water leading it to the small fish it wants to feed on.
Even more amazing is the fishing spider isn’t the only spider that dives into the water world. The water spider has a more developed SCUBA ability than the fishing spider and can hang out under water all day. It only needs to rise to the surface once per day to refill its air supply.
What To Do About Spiders
While spiders can be beneficial, there is a limit to how many spiders we should be expected to live with. If you ask my 5 year old son, that number is a hard and fast 0! (He has a lot to learn). Nonetheless, if you are dealing with spiders that you would rather not see (or maybe just their webs), reach out to the arachnid specialists at Rove Pest Control and find out how we can customize a plan for controlling spiders and the insects they feed on.